Before you send your dive-happy clients into the open waters, first make sure they are certified, or make sure the operator you are going through offers a certification program or works with a hotel that does. Open-water dive certifications are required for anyone looking to tackle the open seas. It usually takes about three to five days to get certified, but regions outside of the U.S. issue certifications in as few as one to two days. Once you've taken care of the certification issue and narrowed down where your clients would like to dive, we recommend contacting an operator onsite because they obviously know their own waters more than any other expert. Here are some dive operators Home-Based Travel Agent suggests to go along with the destinations we recommended in "Divers' Destinations" in this issue.
Dominica: In Dominica, the most notable dive operators are Anchorage Hotel Dive Center (www.anchoragehotel.dm, 767-448-2638, [email protected]); Cabrits Dive Center (www.cabritsdive.com, 767-445-3010, [email protected]); Dive Dominica LTD (www.divedominica.com, [email protected]); Nature Island Dive (www.natureislanddive.com, 767-449-8181, [email protected]); and Al Dive Center (www.aldive.com, 767-440-DIVE (3483), [email protected]).
Bonaire: Just about every hotel in Bonaire has its own dive shop onsite. Other notable operators in the destination include Wanna Dive (www.wannadivebonaire.com) and Dive Friends Bonaire (www.dive-friends-bonaire.com). Other operators Home-Based Travel Agent recommends are Bonaire Tours (www.bonairetours.com, 011-599-717-8778); Outdoor Bonaire (www.outdoorbonaire.com, 011-599-791-6272); and Tropical Travel (www.tropicaltravel.com, 011-599-717-2500).
Ecuador: Besides the Galapagos, Ecuador is also home to other amazing dive spots. Here are two operators that can arrange trips to the Galapagos or other spots in Ecuador: Ecuadive (www.ecuadive.com, 011-5934-228-4298, ext. 208; ask for Juan Carlos Diaz Granados or e-mail [email protected]) and Ecoventura (www.ecoventura.com, 800-633-7972; ask for Santiago Dunn or e-mail [email protected]).
Belize: In Belize, your best bets are SeaSports Belize (www.seasportsbelize.com, 011-501-227-7593, [email protected]); Ambergris Divers (www.ambergrisdivers.com, 011-501-226-2634, [email protected]); Belize Diving Adventures (www.belizedivingadventures.net, 011-501-226-3082, [email protected]); Frenchie's Diving Services (www.frenchiesdivingbelize.com, 011-501-226-0234, [email protected]); Belize Diving Services (www.belizedivingservices.com, 011-501-226-0143, [email protected]); and Joy Tours (www.njoybelize.com, 011-501-523-3325).
Riviera Maya: There are a ton of great dive operators in the Riviera Maya, but for starters check out Akumai Dive Center (www.akumaicaribe.com, 984-875-9025, [email protected]); Dive Aventuras (www.diveaventuras.com, 984-873-5031); and Whale Shark Safari (www.whalesharksafari.com, 984-267-1200, [email protected]).